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Opt Lett. 2016 Jul 1;41(13):3074-7. doi: 10.1364/OL.41.003074.

Femtosecond laser direct inscription of surface skimming waveguides in bulk glass.


We present a detailed study of waveguide inscription near the surface of bulk glass using a femtosecond laser. Three silicate glasses used extensively as hosts for photo-induced photonic devices were examined. Our results show that near-surface waveguides generally present a low-index contrast, as the pulse energy damage threshold decreases sharply at close proximity to the surface. We devised a novel method to allow the formation of optical waveguides that exhibit a high-index contrast up to the surface of any transparent material. As a proof of concept, the inscription of near-surface single-mode waveguides operating at a wavelength of 405 nm is demonstrated.


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